February 17, 1913
Pasteur Monnier's Theological Seminary, Paris
[The audience was composed of professors, clergy and theological students]
Question by Pasteur Monnier: As we are students of theology, and are in the rank of clergy, we would like to know your belief about Christ, who He was and what He was?
‘Abdu’l-Baha: Our belief in regard to Christ is exactly what is recorded in the New Testament however we elucidate this matter, and do not speak literally or in a manner based merely on the foundation of blind belief. For instance, it is recorded in the Gospel of St. John, that in the beginning there was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Now the majority of Christians accept this principle as a matter of belief, but we give an explanation and exposition which is accepted by reason, and in such a way that no one may find occasion to reject it.
The Christians have made this statement the foundation of the Trinity -- but philosophizers deny it as mere superstition, stating that Trinity as regards the identity of the Divinity is impossible and in turn the Christians do not give a satisfactory explanation and interpretation to be accepted by philosophers.
As the former base their whole exposition of this subject upon the authority of the Holy Scriptures the latter do not accept it, saying, "Is it possible to have three in one, and one in three?”
We explain this subject as follows: The eternity of the Word is not an eternity of time, for if this were an eternity of time, the Word would have been accidental, and not eternal. By the Word we mean that this creation with its infinite forms is like unto letters, and the individual members of humanity are likewise like unto letters. A letter individually has no meaning, no independent significance, but the station of Christ is the station of the Word. Complete and independent significance is implied in a word. That is why we say Christ is the Word. By complete significance we mean that the universal bestowals of the perfection of Divinity are manifest in Christ. It is obvious that the perfections of other souls are particular, or only a part, but the perfections of the Christ are universal or the whole. The Reality of Christ possesses complete and self-sufficient perfections.